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Which Powerboat Course is Best for Me?


Choose the RYA Powerboating Scheme if you want to skipper an open boat with a length of up to 10 metres. In this article, we will look at the main courses available. There are also some specialist powerboat courses available, revolving around safety and tender operators.

These powerboat courses are aimed at leisure boaters and the minimum age requirement is 8 years old.

For beginners

The RYA Powerboat level 1 course is the ideal starting platform for children aged 8 seeking an introduction to powerboating. It is a one-day course that introduces the key fundamentals of operating a powerboat. Students will learn basic skills like how to launch and recover the boat as well as some everyday boat handling methods.

For many, the RYA Powerboat level 2 is known as the national boat licence. After you complete this course, you can apply for the licence that is required to operate a powerboat on international waters: the ICC. This course lasts over two days and has a minimum age requirement of 12. It teaches close-quarter manoeuvring, man overboard techniques and planning speed manoeuvres, as well as the all-important rules of the road.

Another beginner course worth considering is the RYA Essential Seamanship and Navigation course. It is ideal for anyone that has completed the level 2 course, teaching basic navigation skills including reading tide and chart work to enhance your safety knowledge.

For intermediate learners

If you are a skipper who wants to head a little further afield, the RYA Day Skipper theory course combined with the RYA Intermediate course will equip you with everything you need.

The RYA Intermediate Powerboat course is a two-day affair that teaches you how to navigate a powerboat along coastal passages by day. The Day Skipper Theory course covers a total of forty hours and can be carried out in a classroom setting or as an online course. It teaches you all the necessary navigation skills for cruising in your boat.

For advanced learners

If you are a serious skipper looking to take your powerboating to the next level, you may want to take the RYA Yachtmaster coastal theory course. It is the perfect complement to the RYA Advanced powerboat course. When you complete the advanced course, you will be able to navigate coastal passages during the day and at night time.

So, in summary:

  • RYA Powerboat Level 1: Practical training for beginners
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2: Further practical training for beginners
  • RYA Basic Navigation: Beginner theory training (can be taken online)
  • RYA RC VHF Course: Further beginner theory training (also available online)
  • RYA Day Skipper theory: Intermediate theory training (available online)
  • RYA Intermediate Power Boat course: Practical training for intermediate skippers
  • RYA Yachtmaster theory: Advanced theory training (available online)
  • RYA Advanced Powerboat Course: Practical training for advanced skippers

If you wish to work commercially in any capacity, the industry standard is the RYA MCA Advanced Powerboat Certificate of Competency. It qualifies you to work on UK-registered vessels with a length of up to 24 metres, and up to 20 miles away from the nearest safe haven.

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